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Wilco — 27 April 2023, Knoxville, TN (Tennessee Theatre)

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Via Chicago

I Am My Mother
Cruel Country
Handshake Drugs 
Story to Tell
War on War
Love Is Everywhere (Beware)
Pot Kettle Black
Bird without a Tail / Base of My Skull
How to Fight Loneliness
Impossible Germany
Forget the Flowers
Box Full of Letters
Falling Apart (Right Now)
Jesus, etc
Hate It Here
Late Greats
I'm Always in Love
California Stars
Red-Eyed and Blue / I Got You (At the End of the Century)
Outtasite (Outtamind)
(With apologies if I missed anything.)
I hadn't seen Wilco since "Shmilco", and in that time I moved from Chicago to Knoxville. I was a pleasure to be back. And there was a surreal feeling of hearing familiar tunes live again, some in long-running arrangements, like the opener "Via Chicago" or the ripping renditions of "Box Full of Letters," "I Got You" and "Outtasite," which took me straight back to live tapings from the early years of the current band's incarnation, now pushing twenty years ago... Included in the surreal feeling were surprises, like Nels' latest iteration on the "Impossibly Germany" solo, which was at once completely recognizable and at home in the song, while also being entirely new and innovative, and so too were the "Cruel Country" tunes I first heard Jeff play on "The Tweedy Show." They sounded great with the full band in full volume, especially "Bird without a Tail / Base of My Skull," which I suspect will be a regular jam at shows for many years to come (if it isn't already, and I've just missed it).
This wasn't a show of deep cuts, but I don't think this was a crowd that only knew the band superficially either. The energy can be odd in all-seating venues, but I felt the crowd's pulse and heard it row as loud as the PA, and I think Jeff and the band felt it too at times, leading to a few moments not so much of banter as connection, a surge of energy from the crowd to the band to the lights to the mics and back to the music.
I was seated in the balcony and I have to say the sound was disappointing high in the back. Nothing on the band or the FoH, I'm sure, just a matter of location, but the kick drum thumped like a metal band, the vocals were thin, and anytime more than one electric guitar was going, subtlety and definition disappeared. It's a shame, since it is so much of what Wilco does in the details that makes them stand out from any other rock band. But I have no regrets and it won't dampen my enthusiasm for catching the band the next time they're in town; I'll just be sure to get tickets on the floor.
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Quite a good show in a gorgeous venue! I hadn't been to the TN Theater, but it's one of those ornate grand old theaters that Wilco seems to seek out.  Sound was good up front, with small PA speakers on the lip of the stage for those of us up front (always a nice touch).  Lighting was good here, as the bigger stage and theater lighting really gave the crew something to work with.  Nice to see the trophy going to "our friend Sarah" there in the front row. 

Apparently there was a school field trip of some sort of music-related education group right around sound check where a group of kids were able to visit onstage and check out the instruments and meet with the crew and band.  Nice touch from team Wilco, to the surprise of no one. 

Oh, and this show had one of the better posters I've seen in a while - the one with the cassette tape unraveling and spelling "Wilco" which brought back too many memories for many of us... very creative.

The printed setlist had "Monday" as the closer but that was replaced by Outtasite. 

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